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Jean-Paul Riopelle (1923-2002)

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The Joust, Jean-Paul Riopelle Enlarge

The Joust
(Jean-Paul Riopelle, 1969, GNU, Free License)

Jean-Paul Riopelle (1923-2002)

Painter, sculptor, and engraver, Quebecois artist Jean-Paul Riopelle was one of the signers of the "Total Refusal" manifesto in 1948. After studying with academic painter Henri Bisson and avant-gardist Paul-Émile Borduas, Riopelle flew to Paris in the late 40's. There, he joined hands with the Surrealists for a certain time (he was, in fact, the only Canadian to exhibit with them in 1947), before turning to a group devoted to lyric abstraction.

He rose to fame in France and America during the 50's, a period during which he created his large-scale, spatula-painted multicolored mosaics, reminiscent of landscapes seen from the air. He began to sculpt in the late 60's and returned to live in Quebec. A voyage to the Arctic enabled him to discover new landscapes inspiring him to make a series of black-and-white canvases of icebergs.

Figurative canvases of birds as well as the use of new painting techniques like the aerosol sprayer marked Riopelle's work during the 80's. The artist died in Isle-aux-Grues in 2002.

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